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Jul 4, 2013 05:40 PM

Best Fish & Chips, Smelts in Half Moon Bay?

Me and the SO are planning to visit HMB for the first time in a few years, intend to hit some of our old favorite spots like Flying Fish Grill, and San Benito House for sandwiches. I remember having some amazing fish & chips at Ketch Joanne a few years ago, really perfectly cooked, not too greasy, fantastic taste. Is there anywhere else I should try for Fish & Chips (e.g. Barbara's Fish Trap, or Sam's Chowder House) or should I stick with Ketch?

Also, does Duarte's Tavern still do those great smelts? I remember having them several years ago, but last time we were there they told us it wasn't smelt season (still no idea what months those are). Is there anywhere else in HMB we should try for those? Thanks in advance for any tips....

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  1. We were in HMB in May of 2012 & thought that the fish & chips at Barbara’s Fish Trap, just next door in Princeton, were better than what we got at Ketch Joanne. KJ wasn't bad but BFT was (much!) better.


    2 Replies
    1. re: FishTales

      Interesting, thanks. Anyone got anything for me as far as smelts?

      1. re: Argent3

        Just know that Barbara's Fish Trap only takes cash and is on the pricier side...

        Across the street is Half Moon Bay Brewing Company which *USED* to be a favorite of mine, but after a recent (last week) visit, I'm striking them off my list...

        The ceviche was cooked, the mussels were chewy, the oysters were shucked in such a way as to not have any liquor, the poke was mushy, and the fish and chips were too heavily breaded. In short = avoid.

        Sorry, I live in the 'hood and haven't seen any smelts on any menus yet.

        If you are here on a weekend, consider getting a burger at Ground Up Burgers on Main Street. Only open on weekends and a truly exceptional burger.

    2. Surf smelt appears to be june/july for a few months ?

      I get my local smelt fix at Flea Street in Menlo Park, and lookout for "Nethili Fry" at the indian restaurants - often just a paper sign when the smelts are running.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bbulkow

        Nice timing for me then, as far as smelts season. And thanks for the tip on the Nethili Fry, love me some Indian!

      2. I like Flying Fish Grill's fish and chips. They moved about a block east on Hwy 92 a year or so ago. New place much nicer, more seating.

        1. The new fish & chips place Fish & Frites across from Pasta Moon was great when we tried it a few weeks ago.

          1 Reply
          1. re: artemis

            Fish 'n Frites
            328 Main St
            Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
            (650) 712-1520

          2. I rarely visit HMB without a stop at the Ketch. Last Saturday I departed from my usual fried fish on toasted sourdough and ordered the fish and chips. The oil must not have been up to temp because the vibrantly-fresh rock cod was cooked perfectly, but the exterior was an unappetizing beige and gummy.

            Sam's must be putting something in the drinks- innumerable vehicles stretched along both sides of the highway in both directions for nearly a quarter mile. We stepped in around 1pm thinking we'd get a lobster roll prior to the Ketch, took one look at the overflowing bar and hordes holding those remote buzzer devices and left.

            I have yet to make it to Camelot in Pacifica. Thanks to artemis for mentioning Fish and Frites; they weren't on my radar. I note their website says they're opening a second location in Montara. Thanks also to CarrieWas218- that burger sounds like a gem; I'll have one next time I'm burger-hungry coastside.